Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lessons From The Land Of Uz

A few thousand years ago in the land of Uz, there lived a man whose life gives us some pretty powerful lessons. While reading his story this past week, I was hit with a pretty big reality check. The story begins by telling us of this man named Job who seemed to have the perfect life. He had a great family, big house, and lots of stuff. Then we are given access to a conversation between God and satan concerning Job. God brings up Job and actually brags a little bit about him to which satan replies by saying that Job only loves and serves God because his life is so great. Satan tells God that given some calamity in life, Job is certain to view God quite differently.

As I read this, I began to think about myself. I pondered for a moment how often I truly fail this very test. I started to think how quick I am to get a little miffed at God when things don't go my way. When prayers seemingly go unanswered or when I'm not seemingly under a "blessing cloud." Perhaps, you're like me. You find that praising and thanking God for all He's done comes really easy when life is good, but it becomes quite difficult when life stinks.

If we are honest with ourselves we'll admit that in those moments we are doing little more than throwing a fit. Ok, perhaps we don't lay on the floor and kick and scream like we did when we were little, but our heart attitude is not all that different. We want something and we don't get it, so we pout, get an attitude, and want God and the rest of the world to know it. Sounds like a fit to me. Crazy isn't it. The very thing we discipline our kids for, we somehow justify when we ourselves do the same thing.

God is good. He is always good. He can't act outside of good, because that's who and what He is. That being said, bad stuff still hits our lives. We live in a world that is broken. We live in a world at war. A war that is constantly raging between good and evil. Between the forces of darkness and the forces of God. Those who sit around with the idea that they are immune from bad stuff happening to them have a "Disney" outlook on life. It isn't real. Its a fantasy world that is destined to come crashing down one day.

Job's life was great, but calamity and tragedy hit hard. Like Job, it is in those moments that we truly find out about our heart. It's here we find out a lot about ourselves. In those moments, we find out if we are little more than an adult who still has the same heart as a spoiled child, or if we have outgrown the mindset that the world should cater to our every desire. Finding the ability to look beyond the garbage in life and maintain a heart of thanksgiving toward a God, who remains good through it all, shows growth and maturity along our journey. On the other hand getting ticked off at God, angry with everyone else, and mad at the world shows that we have many more mile markers to go on our spiritual journey to maturity.

Count on it, bad stuff will hit your life. Friends will wound you, relatives will upset you, and this world will hammer you. Its how you react when it hits that makes all the difference in the world. Job's life in the end was better than it was in the beginning. I truly believe that is largely a result of how he handled the calamity that hit his life. Just remember in the middle of it all, God still remains God. In the midst of life's hardest struggles, His goodness, grace, mercy, and love can still be found. If you can find nothing else for which to be thankful, those alone are fuel enough to bombard the heavens with your gratitude.

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